Humberto Saabedra is the Editor-in-Chief of and an occasional columnist for He can also be found musing on things at @AnimeNewsdotbiz

9 responses to “Sprint to Overhaul Network and Attempt Second iDEN to CDMA Transition”

  1. DP

    I think it’s probably more accurate to say that Sprint will not IMMEDIATELY decommision the iDEN network or discontinue iDEN services. One would have to be blind not to see the writing on the wall. This IS the beginning of the end for Sprint’s iDEN network. Of course, they can’t come out and say that for fear of what iDEN customers they have left fleeing post haste. It my take a few years, but the ball is certainly rolling. They want to start using some of the iDEN network’s 800MHz SMR spectrum for CDMA. They’re developing another CDMA PTT or further developing QChat. I mean come on, it’s not rocket science where this is going.

    “Azzi did not discuss the ultimate future of iDEN, and Sprint representatives did not immediately respond to requests for clarification on the topic.”

    “The carrier’s new multi-mode base stations will give Sprint the ability to deploy CDMA 1X for voice and data, EV-DO, WiMAX and even LTE via a software upgrade”

    Notice no mention of iDEN there…

  2. Christopher Price

    There’s certainly no chance of the iDEN footprint growing, but there’s ample concern that much of iDEN’s spectrum wouldn’t even be a good fit for WiMAX or LTE. And CDMA isn’t demanding much spectrum to begin with…

    The main thing about iDEN at this point is that it’s largely a sunk cost. At some point, Sprint might even want to pursue making it a free, ad-supported public access network. They’re already willing to go all-in on CDMA at $25/month through Virgin.

  3. DT

    You would think Sprint would just invest turning those IDEN towers into CDMA towers. Very few people have a need for the 2-way radio any more. Most people just want internet/texting

  4. MR

    definitely a good move…I work for Sprint and very few sales come from iDEN anymore. If Sprint would develop a “Rugged” cdma phone, there would be virtually no sales on the Nextel side. Sprint keeps working to build a name as the “data network” and this move would help them do so…

  5. F1

    ” to reduce its cellsite footprint from its current 66,000 sites to a new reduced total of 46,000 sites”, reducing the number by some 30% will no doubt be an straining expense on the network, furthermore deteriorating the quality of service.

    IDEN is in effect obsolete, however what about the rumored potential GSM/T-Mobile merger or even more interesting, the possible future LTE convergence, is the above “Overhaul”, taking these matters into account?

    Thank You

  6. DP

    There’s actually plenty of doubt to your conclusion, F1. At least one of the purposes of the multimode hardware is to provide greater service while at the same time eliminating the expense of redundant cell sites. Now this all sounds good on paper, but it remains to be seen how it will play out in reality. However, I think it’s premature to jump to gloom and doom opinions at this point in time.

    As for the rumored t-mobile merger, it was just that-a RUMOR! It never ceases to amaze me how some of you folks fall for said rumor every time it gets floated…

  7. Christopher Price

    F1, I would say it’s just as likely that Sprint would have a falling out with Clearwire than a merger with T-Mobile. Both are possible, but not necessarily a good decision.

    Multi-mode hardware is Sprint keeping their options open, which actually may help WiMAX more than hurt it. It takes a lot of pressure and tension out of the notion that there must be a single wireless technology (which, in the long run, stifles innovation… how many Blu-Ray improvements have you seen lately).

  8. F1


    Having been with SPRINT since 1997, well before the Nextel debacle, and having lived through the merger experience and it’s “side effects”, i.e “CEO Forsee” , one can develop a rather skewed position, in short once burned, twice shy…
    I am not holding my breath, forgive me, due to the above sited past experience, I still have a somewhat bitter after taste for any “adjusting period”, that typically follows.


    Ironically, I am pleasantly surprised by the 4 year old SONY PS3, “Blu-Ray”, receiving a firmware upgrade, whereby 3D discs playback is enabled, and also the industry wide faster playback in general on the format.

    There is always room for hope!

    Thank You

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